Smackdown! Presents…WWE Judgment Day
May 22nd, 2005
Live from The Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Announcers: Michael Cole & Tazz
Show opens with a video package that talks about how the main event heels of Smackdown! are going to meet their judgment for their recent dickish actions. Eddie Guerrero for portraying his best friend Rey Mysterio. Kurt Angle for wanting to have “bestial sex” with Booker T’s wife. JBL for being a general all around ass.
MNM enters, making their PPV debut. This is a more abrupt way to open the show than I expected but I’m not gonna complain about the show starting with a match. Melina cuts a short, wooden promo during the entrance. I’m glad they cut off that aspect of MNM’s classic entrance. You really don’t need to try and say a catchphrase during an entrance that cool.
WWE Tag Team Titles Match: MNM (with Melina) (c) Vs Hardcore Holly & Charlie Haas
Holly & Haas are a good first challenger for an MNM. They do have some credibility as former Tag Team Champions (albeit with partners other than each other). They’re a strong tag team but not strong enough that you’d be upset or confused if they put over MNM. Actually though by mid ’00s WWE tag team standards, Holly & Haas were probably kind of a strong team. The tag team division was the pits for most of the ’00s, outside a few teams here and there. You can count on two things that the announcers are going to bring up during any Hardcore Holly match after ’04 is how Holly has one of the best standing dropkicks in the business (and it is fantastic) and how messed up his neck is. This is a nice energetic little opener. Finish comes with some referee distraction, conveniently just as Haas has future security guard Joey Mercury pinned. Johnny Nitro lowblows Haas behind the ref’s back and MNM hits the Snapshot for the win. ***
Was Haas a Minnesota guy or did he wrestle for the Gophers? It seems like he was more over than usual here. *checks wikipedia* I guess he’s not. He was either getting cheered because of his past association with University of Minnesota alum Shelton Benjamin or just the general “babyface in the first match of the night” excited reaction. Probably the latter.
We take a look at the feud between Big Show and Carlito. Carlito wanted Big Show to be his bodyguard but Big Show refused so Carlito tricked him into eating a poisonous apple. Did footage of Big Show convulsing and spitting out chewed up apple make Cody Rhodes’ clip packages of embarrassing Big Show moments during those two’s feud a few years back? Because if it didn’t, it should have!
The Big Show Vs Carlito (with Matt Morgan)
Carlito doesn’t need Big Show anymore because he’s got a new bodyguard Matt Morgan. Morgan’s look really reminds me of Kevin Nash here. Hey if you’re gonna emulate another wrestling bodyguard, you might as well emulate the most famous wrestling bodyguard. Carlito says Randy Moss warned him about Minnesota and told him the people of the Land of 10,000 Lakes is not cool. Tazz says he’s never been chopped by The Big Show because if he had, he’d be missing a pectoral muscle. That’s one way to sell Big Show’s chops. They’ll literally knock one of your tits off. Carlito does a good job of bumping his ass off for Big Show. This is a fun big guy, little guy opener. Carlito accidentally knocks out the ref. Matt Morgan comes in and hits the F5 on Big Show. Huh. The announcers are pretty confused too. This was the period where WWE was still pissed over Lesnar walking out on them so they tried to get back at him in various petty ways (nine months before this, Randy Orton won the title and displaced Lesnar in the record books as the Youngest WWE Champion of All Time). Carlito covers Big Show for the win. **1/2
Cole is baffled. He CAN’T BELIEVE that SOMEBODY would be able to F5 The Big Show like Matt Morgan just did.
Video package for Kurt Angle Vs Booker T. Start of this feud is pretty good (Angle & Booker T cost each other a shot at Cena at this PPV) but it completely devolved into the dumbest feud of Angle’s career and one of the dumbest feuds of Booker’s career (there’s been a lot, unfortunately). Kurt Angle wants to have nasty bestiality sex with Booker T’s gutterslut wife Sharmell! Booker T is understandably upset.
Backstage, Sharmell gives Booker T a pep speech. Sharmell gets a delivery and it’s some lingerie. She tells Booker T to focus on the match. Booker says he didn’t buy no damn lingerie and flips out. Back at ringside, Michael Cole says Angle has gone INSANE and is a sick freak.
WWE Cruiserweight Title Match: Paul London (c) Vs Chavo Guerrero
Discussion of Angle going bonkers and suddenly becoming a sexual predator transitions into “OOOH CHAVO!” It’s time for our second title match of the night. Paul London’s entrance at this stage, kind of channels the Ultimate Warrior with the multi colored tights, boot tassles, and sprinting to the ring. Warrior never did backflips off the turnbuckles before his matches though as far as I know. Speaking of the Blade Runners, Chavo’s tights here remind me of Sting’s early ’90s tights for some reason. Sick spot where Paul mostly misses a somersault dive to the floor ouch. This is a pretty stereotypical Chavo Guerrero Cruiserweight Title match from this era with Chavo slowing down the babyface by working on a body part (in this case, the ribs). That formula worked for what they were going for because it always produced solid (but not showstealer) matches. London overcomes the odds to win with the 450 Splash. ***
London is a guy that I feel showed up in WWE five years too early. If he had showed up in 2008 instead of 2003, he would have had a much better shot at at least cracking the upper mid-card. I know he had long Cruiserweight Title and Tag Team Titles runs but WWE never really cared about the cruiserweights and Londrick were champs during one of the lowpoints for tag team wrestling in WWE.
Booker T stomps all over the backstage area at the Target Center, asking the undercarders if they’ve seen Kurt Angle. Funaki hasn’t seen him! Neither has Booker T’s short lived tag team partner Kidman! Shannon Moore doesn’t know where he is! Bob Holly will let Booker know if he runs into Angle!
Angle breaks into Sharmell’s locker room and jumps on top of her! But before any bad stuff can happen, his entrance music hits! He’ll be back after he kicks Sharmell’s husband’s ass.
Kurt Angle Vs Booker T
Tazz lets us know that while he’s usually an Angle fan, he DOES NOT endorse what Angle just did. Cole tries to be impartial but Angle’s a SICK MAN and he hopes Booker T kicks his ass! Some fan has a “Angle’s Got Jungle Fever” sign. Stop encouraging them. Considering the intensity of this feud and the previous segment, it seems kind of confusing for Booker to just pretty much normally just walk to the ring. If any match needed to be a goofy, over the top, violent Attitude era-esque brawl then it’s this one. There’s a sick spot where Booker hits the Axe Kick on Angle on the ropes and Angle flies out of the ring. WHY DOES THAT MAN HAVE RECURRING NECK PROBLEMS? It’d be impossible for this match to be bad considering the participants but it’s kind of a letdown. I’m guessing maybe these guys were about as enthused with this storyline as the rest of the fans. Booker wins by reversing the AngleSlam into a fluke small package. **1/2
Angle beats down Booker T after the match in front of Sharmell. He tries to handcuff Sharmell to the ropes but Booker recovers in time to make the save and cuffs Angle to the ropes. Sharmell slaps around Angle then kicks him in the balls.
Michael Cole & Tazz talk about the match we just saw and Cole says boxing legend Roberto Duran is in the house tonight. Wonder what the heck he was doing in Minneapolis. Cole says it’s appropriate because Duran said “No mas” back in the ’80s in his fight against Sugar Ray Leonard and our main event tonight is an I Quit Match. Tazz gives us our keys to winning an I Quit Match. But first, our second to last title match of the night.
WWE United States Title Match: Orlando Jordan (c) Vs Heidenreich
Oh boy. Since we last saw these guys, Jordan has gone solo since The Cabinet was dissolved after JBL lost at WrestleMania 21 and Heidenreich made an inexplicable face turn when we found out he’s not crazy, he’s just a weird loner who’s trying to make friends. This crowd is lively. They even pop for Heidenreich yelling if anyone wants to be his friend. Either that or they’re lonely. Heidenreich befriends a little girl in the front row and reads her a poem. Heidenreich insinuates Orlando Jordan looks like Buckwheat. Cole isn’t impressed but shrugs it off as Heidenreich being crazy. Orlando Jordan wins with a DDT.* At least, it was short. Little girl at ringside is not happy. She climbs into the ring to wake up Heidenreich and convinces him to do the Heideenreich goose step. They hug it out. He lost the match but he gained a friend.
Josh Matthews talks to JBL, JBL still has his old title belt. JBL cuts a great promo. He says John Cena won’t be able to see with all of the blood in his eyes. Tonight, JBL will prove why he’s a WRESTLING GOD.
Video package that highlights the love-hate relationship of Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio, which at this point, was in hate mode. Eddie turned his back on Rey and then attacked him, suplexed him onto the ring stairs, and stole his mask. Eddie tells Rey to think of his family when he wrestles him at Judgment Day because if he gets out of line, it might be the end of Rey’s life! Strong words!
Rey Mysterio Vs Eddie Guerrero
Fists are flying to start the match. Eddie brutalizes Rey Mysterio to start the match. Spinebuster on Rey onto the announcers table gets some “Eddie” chants from the smarks in the crowd. Cole cries “This is a wrestling match, NOT A MASSACRE!” This match is basically Eddie beating the hell out of Rey with Rey hitting the occasional hope spot. This is what their WrestleMania should have been. When you’ve got one of the best faces of his era (Mysterio) and one of the best heels of all time (Guerrero) and they’ve have an extensive past history, it seems like kind of a waste to have a bone dry Face Vs Face match. Rey’s ringpost 619 is a pretty sick spot. Finish comes after Chavo runs out with a chair but Rey dropkicks him in the knees to stop him. Rey hits the 619. He springs back in the ring but gets waffled by Eddie with the chair that Chavo dropped for the DQ. ****
After the match, Eddie beats Rey some more after the match. Eddie flashes that SICK SMILE (tm Michael Cole). Cole thinks Eddie knew he couldn’t beat Rey so he just wanted to hurt him. Referees and road agents Steve Keirn and Fit Finlay put a stop to this madness. Nice shot of Eddie vacantly smiling as he heads back to the locker room.
Tazz doesn’t know what the hell Eddie’s thinking. His and Rey’s kids play together. Cole tells us as brutal as that match was, it’s nothing compared to what we’ll see next.
We go back to John Cena winning the WWE Championship followed by some clips of Cena’s publicty tour (including throwing out the first pitch at Fenway Park). Cena’s got an album out. We get some clips of his single “Bad, Bad Man” but unfortunately, I don’t see any clips of The A-Team inspired music video. Call me crazy but I thought Cena’s rapping was quite good, by athletes turned rappers standards. Hey, what are you doing with that white jacket?
JBL is not impressed. Cena is a disgrace to the WWE Championship. JBL says Cena is a quitter just like the fans. That inspires Cena to challenge him to an I Quit match. JBL has sweat gallons and bleed buckets but the words “I quit” have never crossed his mind
, Maggle. Cena thinks he’s the man who’ll make Bradshaw say I Quit.
I Quit Match for the WWE Championship Title: John Cena (c) Vs John Bradshaw Layfield
Cole says this is a clash of two men with different lifestyles and philosophies that will culminate in one man saying two words; “I quit”. Cena enters on the back of an 18 wheeler with a DJ scratching. Cena tears the bullhorns off the hood of JBL’s limbo. He doesn’t give a damn about anybody. He’s the leader of a new breed of WWE fans. Everybody will love this guy for years. After seeing a watered down I Quit match with Cena on Sunday, it’s refreshing to see this. There’s blood, guys getting strangled, swearin’, Chair shots to the dome. Fantastic. Cena wears nasty crimson mask. High up there on the muta scale. These guys really lay everything on the table here which makes their dry, intensity free match at WretleMania all the more confusing. Got a huge laugh out of JBL selling the FU by rolling out of the ring, doing the “You Can’t See Me” gesture and flipping off Cena. JBL gets busted open after going head first through a giant bulky ’00s TV set and through one of his limo’s windows. Surprise. The fight ends up on the flatbed truck. He wrecks the DJ table. BASTARD! JBL decides to say I Quit after John Cena threatens him with a giant exhaust pipe that Cena ripped off the trailer truck. Kind of a lame finish but an otherwise tremendous I Quit Match. ****1/2
John Cena clotheslines JBL with the pipe through the set just to make sure JBL’s put away. Cena celebrates with the title to close the show. This show was pretty much the peak of John Cena as a massively popular, badass babyface as the backlash against him would start pretty much soon afterward.
Wow. Unexpectedly, this was probably the best pay per view so far of ’05. I knew the main event was a classic nasty brawl but we had a underrated, nasty brawl in the semi main-event. Every match except for the U.S. Title bout was solid (and the U.S. Title was only 4-5 minutes) and the silliness was kept to a minimum… with the glaring exception of the embarrassing Angle-Booker T and Sharmell nonsense.
Smackdown! was becoming the show to watch with a very strong roster that blended established veterans (JBL, Mysterio, Eddie, and Angle) and talented up and comers (John Cena and Carlito). It might not have been as strong as RAW’s on paper but they produced the better show. We can’t forget that perhaps the biggest star on Smackdown, The Undertaker, wasn’t even on this show (he was taking his annual post WrestleMania hiatus). So what did WWE do to embrace Smackdown? They decided to have another Brand Draft to plunder the roster and bolster RAW’s line up. C’est la vie. Well, before we see what happens to the rosters of RAW and Smackdown, we’re gonna go to the past and take a walk down memory lane with those wacky, blood soaked brawlers of Extreme Championship Wrestling.
Next Time on Ten Years After… It’s time to get EXTREME as ECW returns for one night only (yeah, one time thing. You won’t see another ECW Reunion ever again) at the Hammerstein Ballroom and WWE lends a helping hand. It’s ECW One Night Stand. Tommy Dreamer & The Sandman take on The Dudley Boyz, Chris Benoit takes on Eddie Guerrero plus five other matches featuring the classic ECW stars you know and love!